What Happens When SO2 Reacts With Steel?

Steel can be corroded by sulphur dioxide in the presence of water.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Sulphur dioxide, SO2, is a colorless gas that is toxic to human beings. It is produced both naturally by volcano's and by combustion of car gasoline. In its pure form, sulphur dioxide does not react strongly with metal alloys such as steel. However, in the presence of defects and water, sulphur dioxide can be highly corrosive.

Reaction Between Sulphur Dioxide and Steel

Steel is a general term for metal alloys containing iron, carbon and manganese with smaller amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulphur and oxygen. In the absence of water, sulphur dioxide does not react strongly with steel. However, if sulphur dioxide is exposed to the atmosphere it reacts with water vapor and oxygen forming corrosive sulphuric acid. This substance is highly corrosive and can damage steel.

Related Articles

How to Harden Steel With Motor Oil
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
How to Flame Harden Steel
Major Sources of Sulfur Dioxide
What Is Chlorine Dioxide?
Physical and Chemical Properties for the Element Aluminum
Which Layer of the Earth's Crust Contains the Highest...
Signs of a Chemical Reaction With Steel Wool and Peroxide
302 Vs. 304 Stainless Steel
What Is Zinc Alloy?
Blue Steel Vs. High Carbon Steel
Are Tin Cans Attracted to a Magnet?
What Does It Tell You if Iron Has an Atomic Number...
Can Aluminum Be Heated & Bent?
What is Silicon Dioxide?
How to Tell the Difference Between Cast Iron & Cast...
How to Calculate the Area of Steel
How to Heat Treat Steel
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
Characteristics of Aquatic Plants